Person in red pants sitting using laptop at a table.

Those who can do, teach


When COVID-19 precautions closed libraries and put research work on hold, Val Nesset, an associate professor and a program director in the Department of Informational Science, swiftly launched a course she’d been developing to help faculty use tech to teach.

Val Nesset.

Val Nesset, associate professor
Department of Information Science

“All the things that I’ve learned through my experience and my colleagues’ are up there,” Nesset said. “Our programs have been synchronized online for five years now, and I’ve been teaching online for 10 years.”

Her new project, “UB Teaching Community of Practice” went up on the UB Learns interface in versions to fit diverse preferences—in PowerPoint, PDF and video. The point: Help faculty fuse best practices and distance technology, post work and translate assignments, lectures and quizzes into interactive and secure online formats.

“We’ve tried to think of all the different scenarios,” Nesset said. “I hope this site just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and we keep it curated in a way that people find easy to use.”

She was sympathetic to the urgent need to demystify online teaching for fellow faculty. When she returned to college “later in life”—at 39—“the professor was talking to the ‘kids’ about the Internet and other things.”

“I had no idea what was going on!” she said. “I know what it’s like to not even know where to start.”